11 Apr 2006

Handling criticism

No man is an island. As such, we are bound to be bombarded with criticisms on the actions we take. It is difficult to please everyone, and always there are going to be detractors.

The first thing I noticed, when I started working for real people, in the real world (as opposed to the ‘work’ I was involved in the school), is that I had to not only find a way to deal with criticisms, but also to stand by what I said and be accounted for it.

Ego compounds the matter. Everytime someone said he was not in harmony with what I do, initially, my first reaction was to snub the person and think of a thousand ways in which I was superior to him. After a while, I learnt to put away (atleast temporarily) this cloak of ego and try to reason out his arguments. And more often than not, the criticism was not as harsh as with the cloak of ego on.

Having said that, I believe one also has to stick by what he thinks is the right way to do something. While considering others’ view points, one must not be under any obligation to take them up. If I think for sure, that a certain job should be done a particular way, I will be hell bent on doing that way, no matter how persuasive the alternative argument is. This has gotten me into trouble more than once, but I would continue to do so in the future. While I try to be considerate to others’ suggestions, I shall not be coerced into doing something I don’t like.

This reminds me of what my computing teacher did in Year one. For the first time in VJC, he conducted the year end computing exams fully computer based (which means you have to type the answers in!). And after that, there was this compulsory survey on this novel idea, for which he promised to give marks…

One of the questions on the survey was:

Do you think that this is a better way to conduct a computing exam?

The three choices for the answer were:

A. Yes
B. No
C. Unsure

And guess what? Those who answered ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ got 1 mark for the question, while those who answered ‘Unsure’ got ZERO.

The lesson? I think you should get it.

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